Next year will see the first real arrival of 5G ready smartphones that are aimed at mainstream audiences. These come with a wealth of new handsets sporting ultra fast connectivity set to launch over the course of 2020. A new report from IDC suggests that while the mobile market has actually been shrinking, the emergence of 5G mobile will allow it to expand by around 1.5 per cent, according to Tech Radar.
So what phones will define the next 12 months and how will 5G technology really impact users across the UK?
Samsung was, once again, one of the first with a 5G smartphone, launching and adapted GalaxyNote10 with this connectivity. 2020 will, more importantly, see Apple enter the arena with a 5G capable iPhone handset.
This is likely to be one of the biggest drivers for 5G mobile adoption. It will also help to convince network providers and government regulators that getting on with the rollout of this newer coverage makes fiscal sense.
IDC analysts point to the popularity of 5G mobiles in China which will be a catalyst when the market is looked at on a global scale.
Even with Apple’s influence, the dominance of Google’s Android mobile operating system will continue. The report even suggests it could grow slightly to encompass 86.6 per cent of all handsets released next year.
Since the 5G ready iPhone will not land until at least September, manufacturers which exist in the Android ecosystem will benefit from this delayed launch.
Even with more affordable, varied devices entering the 5G mobiles marketplace, it is still worth remembering that even the cheapest of the bunch will still be far more expensive than budget smartphones that offer 4G or even 3G connectivity. Getting gadget insurance may help to avoid steep costs if your 5G phone is damaged or develops a fault.
There are a series of challenges that 5G needs to overcome to actually get mobile users in the UK interested. Amongst these challenges are those of availability and speed.
In a speed test conducted in September 2019, Britain’s current 5G offerings for download data rates rated well below other countries worldwide. The 1.8 gigabits per second recorded on the fastest 5G service on Earth over in America. This easily eclipses the 599 megabits per second that early adopters in the UK can enjoy.
These speeds are still much faster than 4G. They allow for a range of impressive capabilities to be accessed, from higher-quality streaming and gaming to AI-enabled functions and much more besides.
In terms of coverage, the introduction of 5G to the UK’s population will move at a typically sedate pace. Hopefully a little faster than that seen when 4G touched down almost a decade ago. Big cities and towns will feel the benefits soonest, with rural areas certain to lag behind for some time.